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Flint Firebirds halt London Knights five-game winning streak

London, Ont. - Liam Foudy and Jonathan Gruden of the London Knights try to put a puck past Luke Cavallin of the Flint Firebirds in a game that Flint won 6-1 at Budweiser Gardens on November 15, 2019.
London, Ont. - Liam Foudy and Jonathan Gruden of the London Knights try to put a puck past Luke Cavallin of the Flint Firebirds in a game that Flint won 6-1 at Budweiser Gardens on November 15, 2019. Jim Van Horne/980 CFPL

Three second-period goals by the Flint Firebirds propelled them to a 6-1 win over the London Knights on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.

The loss stopped the Knights’ winning streak at five games and saw London lose in regulation for the first time since Oct. 19.

Flint limited the London chances through the first 40 minutes of the game. They also held the Knights power play silent all game.

The first two goals of the game actually came seconds after power plays had ended. The Knights had just killed off the second of two Flint chances on the man advantage in the first period when the Firebirds put the puck into the London net.

Arizona Coyotes prospect Dennis Busby turned and wristed a shot through a screen, right before turning to the bench for a line change and it found its way in for a 1-0 Flint lead.

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Early in the second period, Flint killed off a London power play only to have Jonathan Gruden of the Knights snag a puck in behind the Firebirds net and feed it quickly to Connor McMichael. He extended his point streak to 10 games as he found Alec Regula crashing the net and the Blackhawks prospect scored his eighth of the season to tie the game 1-1.

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Just over a minute later the Firebirds grabbed the lead back as Jack Phibbs scored to make it 2-1.

Ty Dellandrea batted in a rebound at the 8:07 mark of period two.

Jake Durham found a tiny space inside the post on Dylan Myskiw and scored his 10th goal of the season to give the Firebirds a three-goal lead.

Brett Brochu entered the game at that point for the Knights and stopped 15 of the 16 shots that he faced.

In the third period, Flint’s leading scorer, Evgeniy Oksentyuk, cashed in twice to complete the scoring. He scored his second goal into an empty net.

The Knights will look to regroup on Sunday as the Kitchener Rangers arrive at Budweiser Gardens for a 2 p.m. start.

Streak

Connor McMichael of the London Knights has extended his points streak to 10 games. McMichael was averaging three points per game heading into Friday’s game against Flint. That had him in the company of Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner when it came to highest point totals during a London Knights scoring streak and had him trailing only Corey Perry, Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane and Rob Schremp for best production during a streak by a Knights player going back to 2005. Schremp averaged a massive 4.57 points per game during a 7-game run in 2005-06 that saw Schremp record 32 points in total.

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READ MORE: London Knights billet families: ‘One of the most important aspects of junior hockey’

Canada/Russia needed a double-shootout to determine a winner

Shootouts prevent ties. They have for a very long time in the sport of soccer and they do the same thing in just about every hockey league now.

In the final game of the 2019 Canada/Russia series, two shootouts were needed. One decided the winner of Game 6 and the second decided the winner of the overall series that also featured Team OHL and Team QMJHL.

On Thursday night in Prince Albert, Sask., Russia edged Team WHL 4-3 in a shootout. Vancouver Canucks prospect Vasili Podkolzin scored the goal that stood up in the winner in that shootout. However, that finish left the Canadian Hockey League teams and the Russia Selects tied with eight points at the end of their six-game series.

So, a second shootout was needed and Nolan Foote scored to win that one and the series for the CHL. London Knights head coach Dale Hunter was behind the bench for all six games and will coach Team Canada at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.

New ways to review plays

This weekend marks the official start of something new in the Ontario Hockey League.

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Overhead cameras have now been installed at every arena and tablets will be available in every penalty box area for on-ice officials to use to asses certain things that might take place during games.

A release from the OHL reads, “Based on their discretion, referees and linesmen will have access to video review to ensure that the correct call on the ice was made as it relates to the assessment of major/match penalties, high-sticking double-minors as well as offside situations when a goal has been scored.”

There will also be a coach’s challenge available to any team, provided they have a timeout remaining, should they want officials to review a goaltender interference call that either was or was not signalled by one of the referees. Should the challenge not result in a change to the ruling on the ice, the team will forfeit their timeout. If the on-ice call is changed, the team retains their timeout.

READ MORE: Hockey players weigh in on Don Cherry’s comments, firing: ‘Disappointing on many fronts’

Up next

The London Knights will host the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday, Nov. 17 at Budweiser Gardens before heading on the road for three games in Mississauga, Kitchener and Erie. In fact, following Sunday’s game, London will play nine out of 11 games on the road.

Kitchener got off to a hot start but goaltender Jacob Ingham suffered an injury. They have gone 1-3 since.

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Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday from Shoeless Joe’s on King Street on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.